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Reincarnation

By Wallace McRae, Cowboy Poetry, Edited by Hal Cannon, Salt Lake City: Gibbs M. Smith, Inc., 1985

Though just written in 1980, this poem is already considered to be a classic.

"What does reincarnation mean?"A cowpoke asked his friend.His pal replied, "It happens whenyer life has reached its end.

They comb yer hair, and warsh yer neck,And clean yer fingernails, And lay you in a padded boxAway from life's travails.

"The box and you goes in a hole,That's been dug into the ground.Reincarnation starts in whenYore planted &ls;neath a mound.

Them clods melt down, just like yer box, and you who is inside. And then yore just begginin' onYer transformation ride.

"In a while the grass'll growUpon yer rendered mound.Till some day on yer moldered graveA lonely flower is found.

And say a hoss should wander byAnd graze upon this flowerThat once wuz you, but now's become Yer vegetative bower.

"The posey that the hoss done ateUp, with his other feed,Makes bone, and fat, and muscleEssential to the steed.

But some is left that he can't use And so it passes through,And finally lays upon the ground.This thing that once wuz you.

"Then say, by chance, I wonders by And sees this upon the ground,And I ponders and I wonders at,This object that I found.

I thinks of reincarnation,Of life, and death, and such,And come away concludin': Slim,You ain't changed, all that much."